How creepy can big Pharma be?

“[The journal] which was published by Exerpta Medica, a division of scientific publishing juggernaut Elsevier, is not indexed in the MEDLINE database, and has no website (not even a defunct one)…

George Jelinek, an Australian physician and long-time member of the World Association of Medical Editors, reviewed four issues of the journal that were published from 2003-2004. An “average reader” (presumably a doctor) could easily mistake the publication for a “genuine” peer reviewed medical journal, he said in his testimony. “Only close inspection of the journals, along with knowledge of medical journals and publishing conventions, enabled me to determine that the Journal was not, in fact, a peer reviewed medical journal, but instead a marketing publication for [Merck].” Extract from The Scientist

If true—Elsevier at least admits the truth of the allegation in the latest edition of The Scientist—this is disgraceful behavior.

Vioxx is a trade name for a class of anti-inflammatory drugs marketed by Merck to treat osteoarthritis, acute pain conditions, and dysmenorrhoea. Merck withdrew the drug from the market in late 2004 when it acknowledged that it was implicated in cases of heart-attack and stroke. Market analysts said that revenue from Vioxx had amounted to $US2.5 billion every year.

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